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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

that when I needed it I might always have your sympathy; but even better, I should like knowing that you would always be glad to have mine and would turn to me for it. If I care for you that way, Marion, have n't I a right to ask you to be my wife?"

"If you care for me that way,"—she spoke slowly, looking at the ground, and then she raised her eyes to his,—"why did your conscience find it necessary to say that you loved some one else?"

"That means—you will?"

She smiled and held out both hands. "I care for you so very much—myself."

He took her hands and drew her to him and kissed her, without a word; his speechlessness piqued her a little even in that first warm fluttering moment, but when he let her go and she looked up into his face, she was satisfied with what she saw.

"Ah, Floyd," she said, and her eyes lighted up with a gleam of humor through the mist of emotion and affection, "if you have any other confessions that you think you ought to make to me,—don't make them,—never make them."

He continued to look at her in silence, but there was something in the steadfastness of the look which stirred her heart exultantly.

"You've made me very, very happy," he said at last firmly. "Happier than I ever thought I'd be."

"It seems to me a very restrained happiness that you permit yourself," she answered with equal firmness. "But some day you will be really happy—for you are going to love me—and you are going to love only me."

He smiled and took her hand, but he wished that she had not said this; it was the first little speech in which had rung the jarring note of aggressive confidence.